Most of the time, I choose movies based on the director instead of actors in a typical reviewer style. This week I chose to go with Guhan Senniappan’s Sawaari. Guhan Senniappan is another “Nalaya Iyakkunar” product who impressed me with movies like Uyir Vaasam, H2O and Sennaai Vettai (the action for the small screen was quite impeccable). So I was keen to see what he had done on the big screen. And I should say, it was quite a roller coaster ride.
Sawaari is road psycho thriller movie that you have seen since 1950s in Hollywood but Kollywood hasn’t tried it yet. Rajat Mukherjee from RGV stable tried his hand on it with Road in Bollywood and it bombed miserably. It’s not an easy path to take because you have to do a lot of work to preserve the attention of the audience.
The movie starts with a police investigation of a triple murder that is suspected to have been done by a psycho serial killer. The investigating officer, Samson (played Benito Franklin Alex) is about to get married the next day and tries to take a break by subordinating the investigation. On a parallel side, Ravi (Karthik Yogi) is on the road to deliver a car (a Contessa classic 1990 model) to a superstitious MLA at Nellore. Samson’s car breaks down and he hitch hikes with Ravi. The rest of the story revolves on how the psycho killer is identified in the road trip they take from Chennai to Nellore.
Honestly, if you have watched such psycho thrillers in English, you will not find anything new in Sawaari. It’s straight forward, narrated in a linear manner with some thrills at the right moments. What makes Sawaari different is the wonderfully laced humour that runs until the end of the movie among the horrific incidents. Karthik Yogi carries his role with aplomb and cracks the screen with his quips. Sometimes you might feel he so irritating with his constant ranting but I felt it was by design to make the audience feel the same. Vishal Chandrasekhar’s background score is another strength to the movie.
Having said that, Guhan suffers from what I call Short Movie Maker Syndrome – the lack of ability to transform a short movie screenplay to the larger format. For instance, he reveals the killer way too early in the movie and it forced him to drag the scenes. Honestly, the movie should have been 90 minutes. It’s the same reason why the movie is tad predictable which is not good for a psycho thriller. But, the good thing is he hasn’t tried to give a back story to the actions of the psycho killer. In fact, one of the characters jokes about the back story to the killer himself.
Sawaari is not a classic but definitely a bold attempt to bring in road based psycho thriller to Kollywood. It is predictable, but it’s not boring because of the acting. If you are not worried about predictability but want to watch a thriller, Sawaari is your choice. But if you have watched a lot of such psycho thrillers, you will find it boring.
A 2.5/5 for the bold attempt but Sawaari could have been better if Guhan had focussed on the screenplay. I wish it was better.
PS: I think Guhan Senniappan loves that Contessa. He had already used it in a photo movie posted on his Youtube Channel.